Space, Physics, and Math

Oddities of outer space

To exoplanet scientists, oddball planets are much more than just a strange sight on a cosmic sightseeing tour

February 26, 2021
An artist’s interpretation of the K2-138 system, including 6 planets and 1 star.
An artist’s interpretation of the K2-138 system. When they were discovered, these exoplanets gave scientists a window into how planets form when nothing interrupts the process. [Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC) | Public Domain]

In the last few decades, the study of exoplanets — planets outside our solar system — has exploded. Since the first one was spotted in 1992, scientists have found thousands of different exoplanets in their own unique systems, each of which has told us something new about the cosmos.

Hidden among planets made of diamond and systems that we didn’t think could exist is a wealth of scientific information. To the people that study these strange celestial bodies, finding a “weird one” is a sign that there are still questions to be answered and cosmic investigation to be done. And they are more than ready to start investigating.

SYSTEM Sounds (M. Russo, A. Santaguida)

You can also listen to this episode of the Scienceline podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or Stitcher.

About the Author

Jackie Appel

Jackie Appel is a freelance writer with a particular interest in astronomy and physics. When not writing, she enjoys reading and listening to podcasts in equal measure, and will always be a theatre kid at heart.


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